The Atlanta Santa Speedo Run was in attendance when Nadia accepted a "Triumph of the Human Spirit Award" for athletes who demonstrate leadership in adaptive sports, who exude a positive attitude and who inspire, motivate and truly epitomize the Triumph of the Human Spirit. The money raised through the 2015 Atlanta Santa Speedo Run will support the programs offered by BlazeSports that enable disabled children and adults to triumph over adversity.
The Atlanta Santa Speedo Run will take place at 2:00 PM on December 12th in Virginia Highland and will start/finish at Manuel's Tavern. Registration and donation information can be found here.
More on Nadia from Smoke Signals online
"Adopted from a Russian orphanage at the age of 8, Nadia endured 13 surgeries before her ninth birthday. Spina bifida, club feet, one kidney and a hip deformity never deterred this vibrant soul from aiming high.
In a speech she wrote in middle school, Nadia reflected on her time before her adoption, “If I saw friends playing on the playground, I’d run and play with them. I ignored all the physical problems that limited my abilities. Instead, I had a lot of optimism, strength and courage to do whatever my mind was set to do.”
The girl on the Russian playground has a new life in Big Canoe with her parents Bill and Patricia Hopkins and sister Abby, 15. After a difficult adoption process, her family brought her home nine years ago. More surgeries, an American school and learning English began her drastically different existence.
Always up for a challenge, Nadia began swimming for the Pickens SeaDragons in fourth grade under Coach Debra Johnson. She discovered she loved swimming and was good at it.
About five years ago at a swim meet, she met a disabled swimmer who introduced Nadia’s family to BlazeSports. The organization provides individuals “with physical disabilities the chance to play sports and live healthy, active lives,” according to www.blazesports.org. Since that time, she has been swimming with BlazeSports as well as the SeaDragons.